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Citizens expect practical benefits from 'two sessions'
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As China's parliament and political advisory body's annual sessions are nearing, the country's enthusiastic citizens from different walks of life have expressed their hopes of a better future life.

Housing, a widening gap between rich and poor, social security and environmental protection are hot topics ahead of the sessions of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference scheduled to open on Wednesday and Monday.

Call for more efforts in environmental protection

"I hope that the "two sessions" will continue to advocate environmental protection awareness and speed up efforts in ecological conservation," said Zhang Jinwen, a fisherman at the Taihu Lake in eastern Jiangsu Province. An algae outbreak last summer cut water supply for more than two million residents of nearby Wuxi City for days.

Zhang said he had felt the worsening ecology of the lake in the past few years as he could fish less and less in the freshwater lake. "Residents near the lake have showed support for the closure of chemical companies, the major source of pollution, because this concerns the livelihood of our offspring," he said.

Different from Zhang, Ma Yongsheng, a villager of southwestern mountainous Yunnan Province, said he hoped the country would provide them more compensations as their crops had been often destroyed by increasing wild animals such as black bears and monkeys in the region.

The hunting ban a few years ago has led to a rise of wildlife numbers, he said.

For urban environment, a volunteer named Zhang Baozhong for the August Beijing Olympics said he hoped the central government can prompt big cities to pass laws to prevent noise pollution.

Hope to narrow gap between rich and poor

"I hope the government will impose more taxes on high-income people and crack down on tax evasions to make taxes an effective method to adjust income distribution," said a netizen message on the Sina.com.

The country has seen rapid economic growth in the past few decades but also a widening gap between rich and poor.

"Can the economic growth rate and the income increase of middle and low-income households be at the same pace ?" another netizen asked on major websites such as Xinhuanet.com and Sina.com.

Le Zheng,president of the Shenzhen Academy of Social Sciences, said it is a fact that average income of Chinese citizens and their living conditions have increased or improved a lot.

"But just like the situation that most countries face at the beginning of their modernization process, China also faces a severe problem - unbalanced development," he said.

"As the social wealth is increasing, so are the contradictions in all respects. Therefore, it is very important for the government to pay attention to dealing with problems arising in rapid economic development."

Attention on housing price and social security

Housing prices have soared in many big Chinese cities in the past few years with booming real estate market. In Beijing, the commercial housing prices in many areas have generally doubled within three years.

It is necessary to formulate polices to crack down on speculation in real estate market, said a netizen. "Seen from the per-capital income, the housing prices are far too high."

"I am frugal in everything, but the dream of owning a house is further and further away," said another netizen in Zhejiang.

"I hope the government will take effective measures to down housing prices to ensure a home for everyone."

Medical care and social security of migrant workers also top the concerns of citizens.

The country should step up efforts to make medical care and social security cover the two huge groups of people, who have also contributed a lot to the country's prosperity, netizens said.

There are about 130 million migrant workers who work in cities most of the time a year but they face various difficulties to become a "true" urban resident.

For the first time, deputies of migrant workers will attend the annual session of the top legislature this year.

Hopefully, the condition of migrant workers will be better and better as deputies and their representatives will seek to protect the legal rights for them.

(Xinhua News Agency March 2, 2008)

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